Will I Need a Retainer After Braces?

When it comes to dental work, it is natural to have some questions. Although your dentist can create a comprehensive treatment plan for you and your smile, it can be helpful to know what to expect. Here’s what to know about braces and the long-term outcome after your teeth are straight!

The Importance of Braces

Braces work to create a beautiful and healthy smile. They are used to straighten crooked and overcrowded teeth, and can also help correct a misaligned jaw. Small metal brackets are applied to each tooth and held together by a wire. Depending on the position of your teeth, elastic bands can be placed around the brackets to help shift the teeth into the desired position.

Getting Braces: What To Expect

Every mouth is different, so the length of time that each person will wear braces will vary. Standard treatment times can range from 6 months to 3 years. Both adults and children (as young as 6 years old) can be candidates for braces.

When you first get braces, there are several lifestyle adjustments that you’ll need to make. First, your brushing process will be different. Brushing more frequently will help to reduce plaque buildup around your braces, keeping your teeth free of demineralized areas and keeping your gum tissue healthy. Flossing is extra important too. A floss threader will be needed to floss through the wires and remove food and bacteria. Using a Waterpik before brushing helps dislodge any food that may be stuck in the braces as well. Then, you’ll need to avoid certain foods. Hard foods, like nuts, crunchy vegetables, certain fruits, pretzels, and hard candy should be avoided. This is because the hard texture can break the brackets, wires, or bands. Sticky foods, such as chewing gum and chewy candy, can also damage the braces, if consumed.

Retainers After Braces

After your teeth have shifted according to your dentist’s treatment plan, there is some maintenance that will come with keeping your smile healthy. The most common method is wearing a retainer to help you maintain the shape of your newly corrected teeth. Retainers hold teeth in their new position and help to prevent them from shifting. There are several kinds of retainers: bonded retainers, Hawley retainers, and clear plastic retainers. Bonded retainers are attached to your teeth and cannot be removed. Since they cannot be removed without the aid of an orthodontist, they are worn at all times. Hawley retainers, also known as wire retainers, can be taken out when you’re eating or brushing your teeth. Clear plastic retainers are see-through molds that can be removed when you are eating or brushing your teeth. Removable retainers should be worn during the daytime for as long as your orthodontist prescribes and then at night, indefinitely. Your orthodontist will recommend further instructions on how to wear a retainer after you get your braces off.

Schedule an Appointment

The best way to learn more about braces and how you can transform your smile is by meeting with our dental team. To get started, we invite you to contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form.

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste for You

Toothpaste has certainly come a long way since its introduction in the 1800s. Once comprised of little more than chalk and soap, toothpaste is now capable of accomplishing everything from whitening the teeth to rebuilding their enamel. As such, choosing the right one can be incredibly confusing. As you stare at the colorful boxes and boldly written promises that are found on the toothpaste aisle, be sure to keep the following information in mind.

There Are No Known Benefits To Using Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal toothpaste is currently on-trend. Whether it’s the novelty of brushing the teeth with a black-colored gel or the belief that this abrasive ingredient will actually whiten the teeth, countless consumers are using it. Sadly, however, not only do charcoal types of toothpaste fail to deliver on many of the promises they make, but they can also strip the teeth of their protective enamel, thereby leaving them more vulnerable to both staining and long-term sensitivity.

Over-The-Counter Toothpaste For Sensitivity May Be A Great Starting Point

If you suffer from mild to moderate tooth sensitivity, over-the-counter toothpaste may be able to provide relief. Despite their less than appealing taste, the surest way to get the greatest benefits from these products is by letting them fully absorb into the teeth rather than rinsing them out. For severe tooth sensitivity, however, it’s always best to consult with a dentist. You may need prescription-strength toothpaste, or you may have an underlying oral health issue.

Avoid Aloe Vera Toothpastes That Are Fluoride-Free

Aloe vera has a longstanding reputation for promoting rapid wound healing. When used in the mouth for daily cleansing, however, this ingredient has few to no proven benefits. Moreover, most types of aloe vera toothpaste lack fluoride, which is an essential ingredient for strengthening, fortifying, and protecting the teeth.

Whitening Toothpaste Can Provide Impressive Results Over The Long-Term

Many whitening kinds of toothpaste can indeed deliver on the promises that they make to brighten the smile and eliminate minor areas of discoloration. It’s important to note, however, that the whitening agents in these products aren’t generally strong enough to produce any rapid or truly remarkable results. Instead, these pastes and gels are best-suited to consumers who want to see gradual improvements in their tooth coloration over time. Ultimately, nothing trumps the effectiveness of a professionally rendered, in-office whitening treatment.

With all this in mind, try to choose a toothpaste that’s in line with your needs and oral health goals. Whitening, remineralizing toothpaste should contain fluoride and be absent of abrasive additions like charcoal that can undermine the health of the teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

You can always contact us at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics to get needs-specific recommendations for this incredibly important element of your daily oral hygiene. Schedule your appointment by calling our office at (775) 852-8181.

How Does Sugar Affect Your Teeth?

Sugar appears in so many of the foods and drinks that we love. Sugar is delicious, but if we take in an excessive amount of sugar it may lead to tooth decay. However, very few people understand how this tooth decay comes about. It is crucial to note that it is not technically sugar that is responsible for the damage, but rather the process that occurs after consuming a sugary food. The more you learn about the way sugar affects your teeth, the less you will want to consume it.

The Science of Sugar

Your mouth contains numerous species and genus of bacteria. Some are dangerous, while others are crucial for dental health. There is a group of bacteria that releases acid in the mouth as they digest the sugar. These acids cause the de-mineralization of teeth. Fortunately, your saliva naturally initiates the re-mineralization process. Additionally, fluorides, phosphates, and calcium assist in re-mineralization as well.

Continuous attacks by the acids can cause de-mineralization, ultimately weakening and destroying enamel and possibly leading to cavities. If the holes are not taken care of appropriately, they invade deeper into the teeth layers, resulting in pain and tooth loss. Symptoms of tooth decay are sensitivity to cold or hot meals and drinks, pain as you chew, and toothache. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a dentist as soon as possible.

The Effects of Excess Sugar

Some of the dangerous bacteria present in the oral region are the Streptococcus genus. They form dental plaque after breaking down the sugars you take. If you don’t remove it through brushing or saliva, the mouth’s environment becomes too acidic, leading to the development of cavities. The acidic environment destroys enamel causing de-mineralization. Without proper management, the smaller holes develop into larger ones.

Types of Dietary Intake that Leads to Tooth Decay

The following eating habits play critical roles in the development of cavities:

Consuming Sticky Foods and Beverages

These foods provide long-term sugar sources. Some examples of these include lollipops and mints. These foods are retained in the mouth for a long time, attracting pathogenic bacterium and leading to acidity. The outcome is severe de-mineralization and short periods of mineralization. Similarly, sipping sweetened drinks is a risk factor for developing cavities because your teeth are exposed to the sugars for a prolonged time, allowing the pathogenic bacteria to accumulate in your mouth.

Eating Snacks Containing High-Sugar

Repeated consumption of sugary drinks and sweets leads to cavities. Snacks with a high concentration of sugars expose your teeth to the acids’ harmful effects, leading to tooth decay. Recent studies reveal that kids who feed on a large number of potato chips as snacks have a four times higher chance of developing cavities, unlike those who don’t eat many potato chips.

Management of Tooth Decay

In order to protect your mouth from tooth decay, there are some steps that need to be taken to lower the risk of damage to your teeth.

Monitor What You Drink and Eat

In your diet, incorporate enough dairy products, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Use straws when taking in sugary drinks to reduce your exposure to acids and sugars.

Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene And Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Brushing after every meal is essential in preventing tooth decay and cavities. Consider using toothpaste containing fluoride to assist in re-mineralization. Additionally, pay closer attention to how much sugar is in your diet and try to eliminate unnecessary foods, drinks, and treats with too much sugar in them.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re worried about tooth decay and want to learn more about how to prevent cavities, schedule an appointment with us at South Meadows Dental and Orthodontics. We offer the best services in dental health, and always put our patients’ needs first. For further inquiries, contact our offices at 775-413-2976 or fill out an online form.

Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best for Me?

Dealing with crooked teeth can severely affect your self-esteem and oral health. However, with tooth alignment options like traditional braces and Invisalign aligners, each solution presents its own advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading to learn more about each option and find out which is best for you.

What Is the Difference Between Traditional Braces and Invisalign?

Traditional braces are a common type of orthodontic device comprised of metal brackets. These brackets are fastened onto the teeth, applying pressure to reposition any crooked teeth. Based on the degree of misalignment, Dr. Meagan Struby, our local orthodontist, may require patients to wear traditional braces for anywhere between six months and two years.

Invisalign aligners consist of customized plastic molds that fit the top or bottom set of teeth, similar to retainers. The plastic used is non-toxic and is constructed to provide the specific dimensions of your mouth. Invisalign aligners can sometimes be difficult to fit perfectly onto your molars. Therefore, you should avoid chewing or moving your jaws too much when wearing them.

Reason to Choose Traditional Braces

There are many benefits to choosing traditional braces to straighten your teeth. Some of these include:

Satisfactory, Long-Term Results

Traditional braces require some time for them to straighten your teeth. By wearing them for a prolonged duration, your teeth and gums will permanently realign. Once removed, the results are amazing. Braces can ultimately enhance your smile and overall appearance.

Can Be Used to Treat Severe Complications

Unlike Invisalign treatments, traditional alternatives can help rectify complex dental issues with ease. Aside from aligning your teeth, they can also help close gaps much more effectively.

Regular Braces Can Be Cheaper

Traditional braces are an affordable dental restorative option that’s cheaper than other forms of braces. Furthermore, conventional braces are covered by most insurance policies, making it easier to safeguard your dental health and secure a replacement in case of damage.

Early Dental Correction

Dental braces are ideal for young people as they take away the stress of exploring dental crowns, veneers, and other intrusive treatment methods later in life. Furthermore, it helps straighten their teeth at a young age, leaving them with perfectly corrected teeth and confidence during adulthood.

Reasons to Choose Invisalign Treatment

For those looking for an alternative option to traditional braces, Invisalign aligners offer many benefits. Some of which include:

Comfort

Invisalign braces are much more comfortable on the teeth and gums. The trays gently align against teeth, exerting subtle pressure. Furthermore, with the metal brackets and wires of traditional braces, your gums are far more susceptible to cuts and wounds. However, with Invisalign trays, your gums are kept protected due to the brace’s soft plastic padding.

Blends Naturally

Invisalign aligners are easily concealable and attract less attention. They blend well due to their transparent nature. This can be an added advantage for adults working in professional settings that don’t want to deal with the look of traditional braces while working towards straightening their teeth.

You Can Remove Your Invisalign Aligners Easily

Invisalign aligners are removable and can be taken off whenever you deem necessary. This can make it much easier to maintain and clean both your aligners and teeth. You also don’t have to worry when flossing as there are no wires or brackets to severe the thread unlike in traditional braces.

Consult an Orthodontist That Cares

Here at South Meadows Dental, your smile is important to us. Our goal is to ensure that you obtain the dental results that you deserve. With our team of professionals and over 45 years of experience, optimal results are guaranteed with each treatment you receive. Feel free to set up an appointment with our in-house dentists, such as Dr. Jamie Smith, for adequate dental assistance.

Answering Your Top Questions about Teeth Whitening

Everyone deserves to have a bright smile. Teeth whitening is undoubtedly among the most popular and affordable cosmetic dental procedures, but many people instead opt for over-the-counter options and find disappointing results. It’s important to know that your dentist can help when it comes to achieving a brighter, whiter smile with a simple, in-office treatment. Here’s what to know about it and answers to some common questions we see.

Why Are My Teeth Stained?

A lot of things can contribute to teeth staining, with the most common being your choice of food and drink. A general rule of thumb is that anything capable of staining your clothes will definitely stain your teeth. Therefore, you should consume foods and drinks such as berries, coffee, red wine, soda, and tea with moderation.

Naturally, the more you expose your teeth to such foods and drinks, the more your teeth become discolored. Additionally, the tar and nicotine present in cigarettes leave behind deep and severe stains after smoking. Other factors responsible for teeth staining include certain medications, genetics, and age.

Why Should I Consider Professional Teeth Whitening?

By far, the greatest advantage of getting your teeth whitened by your dentist is quick results. Unlike over-the-counter teeth whitening products, professional teeth whitening uses stronger products to achieve noticeably whiter teeth in one treatment. Over-the-counter kits sold at drug stores typically take weeks or longer to achieve noticeable results.

How Long Will the Results Last?

Contrary to popular opinion, the results of teeth whitening are not permanent. The results of professional whitening can last several months, years, or longer. How long your results last will depend on your dental care regimen and the type of foods and drinks you often consume. Your dentist will give you take-home treatments to maintain your results, but it’s likely you’ll need to return periodically for more professional treatments.

If you regularly consume foods and beverages notorious for staining, then your results can be very short-lived. However, if practice moderation or avoid them entirely, then your results can last for a few years.

Does Teeth Whitening Cause Enamel or Nerve Damage?

According to research, the products typically used in professional teeth whitening don’t affect the hardness or mineral composition of your enamel. Additionally, a follow-up on people who had undergone teeth whitening revealed no damage to their nerves between 4.5 and seven years later.

Will Insurance Cover My Teeth Whitening?

Unfortunately, dental insurance does not usually cover the cost of your teeth whitening. If cost is an issue, your dentist can discuss your best options.

Is Teeth Whitening Right for Me?

If you’re unhappy with your teeth color and want long-term, effective results, then you can discuss your best options with your dentist. After performing a dental examination using x-rays, your dentist can recommend the best treatment plan for you and how to best maintain your results for the long term.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about how teeth whitening can help boost your confidence, we invite you to contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form.

Orthodontics FAQS

What is an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists. They are specialists who diagnose and offer treatments for individuals who have irregularities with their teeth, jaw, and face. This includes an incorrect position or misalignment of the teeth. They may offer their patients treatments like braces in order to correct the irregularity.

Do you need an orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatments offer multiple benefits. They help your teeth to function properly. If you have teeth that are crowded or misaligned, an orthodontic treatment may be right for you.

Orthodontic treatments will also enhance your smile. If you feel self-conscious because of crooked teeth, an orthodontic treatment may help. Also, when your teeth are straight, they are easier to clean. This means that you can improve your overall health by improving your dental health.

When is the best time to start orthodontic treatments?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children who are as young as seven years old should receive an orthodontic evaluation if it seems like they may need an orthodontic treatment. It is never too late to get braces or use other orthodontic treatments. The sooner you start, the better.

How do you know if you have a problem with your bite?

Obvious signs that you have a bite problem include crowded teeth, protruding teeth, or teeth that are not in the right position. Less obvious signs would be breathing with your mouth open, regularly biting your cheeks, teeth that don’t come together correctly when you close your mouth, or difficulty talking. Also, if you sucked your thumb past the age of about four, you may have a bite problem.

Does it hurt to wear braces?

When you visit the orthodontists to have the braces put on, the process is usually pain-free. However, it is common for patients to have some mild pain or an aching feeling during the first few days after the braces are adjusted. It is generally accepted that over-the-counter pain medication can be used effectively.

How long will you have to wear braces?

The time when you actually wear the braces will vary. It can take some people just six months to have irregularities corrected. Others may need up to 30 months. After active treatment, you will need to wear a retainer.

How often will your braces be adjusted?

Most patients need to visit an orthodontist every four to 10 weeks during active treatment. The number of times that you visit will depend on the treatment you use and recommendations given by your orthodontist as your treatment progresses.

Will you have to adjust your diet?

Yes. You will need to avoid things like ice cubes, caramel, raw vegetables, and hard candy. Your orthodontist will give you a list of foods to avoid. The basic idea is to stay away from anything that could get trapped in your braces or damage them.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in finding out if braces are right for you, contact us at South Meadows Dental and Orthodontics. Dr. Brian Struby, Dr. Jamie Smith, and Dr. Meagan Struby are happy to help Reno, Nevada, residents improve their smiles.

What is a Good Age to Get Braces?

When is the right age to get dental braces for my child? This is a question that has left many at a crossroads, wondering which way to go. Dental health is crucial in our lives as the teeth are involved in essential functions of the body. As such, taking good care of them is ideal and makes life easier. Here, we answer what age is right to get dental braces for your kids and include other practices involved in the process.

What is the Best Age?

Since all children are different, they all develop uniquely, thus making it hard to come up with a specific age when dental braces should be used. However, it is generally recommended between the ages of 9 and 14, since this is when children develop permanent teeth. Usually, you can easily tell if your child is heading for braces as early as seven years. In this case, it is wise to visit a dentist who will be an excellent resource when your child needs to visit an orthodontist.

Factors to Consider

Some of the factors that may require you to visit a dentist include irregular loss of teeth, overcrowding, mouth breathing, challenges in biting and chewing, disorganized teeth, and jaws that are not proportional. In addition, it is essential to note that most of these problems may be inherited. However, some children develop teeth problems when they suck their fingers and have poor dental hygiene.

If you notice some of these problems in your child, it is time to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Due to your child’s age, some orthodontists such as Dr. Meagan Struby may not recommend immediate treatment, but the visit may help prevent further problems in the future. In the first visit, the orthodontist will be able to identify some health concerns and develop a treatment plan. To some extent, an orthodontist may speed up the process of treatment. As such, once you talk to them, you do not have to worry about the age your child should get braces, as they will keep you updated.

Whether you have a preference for the braces that you would want to be fitted, an orthodontist will give you clear guidance. He or she will help you choose the right treatment for your child and the optimal time to get started with treatment. It is important to note that some children begin orthodontic treatment at the age of 6. Therefore, it is vital to address any concerns with an orthodontist before things become complicated.

Schedule a Consultation

Although some children can have their braces fitted at the age of 6, most people agree that ages 9-14 are the best for orthodontic treatment. This is the range of age recommended for teeth straightening and other dental attention. If you have any concerns about overcrowding, overbite, underbite, protruding, or crooked teeth in your child, it’s time you visit an orthodontist. South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics is a good option for you as you will get the utmost attention in addressing dental concerns.

To schedule a consultation at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, call (775) 852-8181 or fill out our contact form.

Best Practices for Healthy Teeth

Having regular dental check-ups is a significant part of overall health. Going to the dentist can feel stressful, however. We want everyone to know that your dental health is important. We can help you gain the good health that you deserve. Here are some tips that you can do every day at home. These build confidence, and that lowers anxiety. We want everyone to feel empowered to take care of themselves so that they can enjoy great health.

Do These

Brush regularly. The most important time for this is after the evening meal or before bedtime. This removes sugars and other food that can cause plaque to build up. Plaque leads to cavities. Brushing after each meal of the day provides even better protection.

Floss regularly. Practice will improve your flossing. This reduces particles that get caught between teeth. Toothbrushes can’t reach these areas.

Rinse with mouthwash. Make this a daily practice. Find a brand you like. Using mouthwash is not as necessary as brushing and flossing. Many people find it helpful.

Use fluoride. Fluoride isn’t just for children. It protects adult teeth, too.

Drink water instead of acidic or sugary drinks. This reduces chemicals that eat away at teeth. Water also rinses the mouth and reduces germs.

Eat crunchy natural foods like fruits and vegetables. These foods scrub teeth clean. They don’t stick to teeth the way gummy foods do, so they cause fewer issues.

Schedule dental check-ups twice a year. This helps nervous patients get used to the standard dental procedures. They also receive support and learn about good dental health. Regular check-ups prevent many problems. They can catch others while they are small.

Brush properly. Many people brush too hard. They may miss areas of their mouth. We’d be happy to teach you proper brushing techniques.

Avoid These

Avoid sticky and sugary foods. They cause plaque buildup that causes cavities. Brush thoroughly after eating them.

Don’t go to bed without brushing and flossing your teeth. This removes food particles and helps teeth stay clean.

Don’t give up on flossing. Flossing doesn’t have to be perfect to protect teeth.

Don’t brush too hard or use stiff brushes. Soft brushes can clean the teeth without irritating gums or enamel.

Give up smoking. It affects teeth, gums, and tongue.

Don’t give children juice or soda every day. Offer water, instead. Use a stuffed animal or music instead of a sippy cup or bottle to soothe children at night.

South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics

Here at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we provide dental services for the entire family. This includes general care and cleaning. We also offer orthodontics and cosmetic services when those needs come up. Ask us what you can do to have greater control over your dental health. Schedule an appointment today so that you can have the peace of mind that good health brings.

A Visit from the tooth fairy

Thank you to our friends at St. Albert The Great for having Dr. Meagan Struby and her sidekick, the Tooth Fairy, at school today. Such a pleasure helping our little buddies learn good habits to care for their precious smiles.